Andrew Ference spoke to the media on the team's final day at Rexall Place before departing for the off-season. One of the questions he was asked surrounded giving Ryan Smyth the captaincy for his final game on Saturday.
“You’ve got to go back about a month, talking with Langer (Jeff Lang), our trainer there. Just trying to get a feed on where Smytty’s head was at. The two of us were pestering him about his intentions for the next few years. With him tying the power play record and stuff, we wanted to do a few special things.
"He’s been bugging Langer for a skate sharpener for about two years. We figured a good gift from the boys would be that. I talked to Langer at the same time about, if he is retiring, he’s wearing the C for sure. That was definitely in line for awhile."
Ference had the discussions with Jeff Langer, but also was approached by head coach Dallas Eakins.
"Dallas called me to his office a few days ago and you could tell he was uncomfortable. He wasn’t really spitting it out, he said ‘I’ve got an idea, I don’t know how to say this or approach this’ and so I stopped and got a feeling what he was thinking. I asked him if it was that and then he said ‘perfect, we’re on the same page.’
"It’s a no brainer. The guy is a legend. It’s about as easy a decision as you could ever have. To see a guy go out like that, it’s the first time in my career where I’ve seen a retirement that is like that. I was with Recchi and he knew he was going to retire but you’re in the playoffs, it’s different. The focus isn’t on you.
"For him to get a send-off like that at home, it was really special."
The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have assigned the following players to the American Hockey League’s Oklahoma City Barons.
-Will Acton (C)
-Roman Horak (C)
-Anton Lander (C)
-Steve Pinizzotto (RW)
-Tyler Pitlick (RW)
-Oscar Klefbom (D)
The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have recalled forward Roman Horak from the American Hockey League’s Oklahoma City Barons.
Horak, 22, has posted 52 points (21G, 31A) in 63 games this season. He has appeared in 50 games for the Barons, registering 45 points (19G, 26A) and a plus 13 rating since being acquired from the Abbotsford Heat.
The 6’0”, 170-pound centre made his Oilers debut on December 31st against the Phoenix Coyotes.
EXCLUSIVE: Smyth 1-ON-1 | WATCH | Press Conference | Smyth: One Last Game | Smyth Bio
Some of Ryan Smyth’s teammates and Head Coach Dallas Eakins took the time to reflect on 94’s career and presence in the dressing room, today after practice.
“Ryan has been excellent,” the Oilers head coach said. “He’s a pro, he’s somebody that you wish you could extract some of his DNA and inject it into every one of them. I can’t say enough about him as a player but more importantly, as a person.”
“I think it’s just his love of the game,” Hall said of what stuck out the most about Smyth. “He’s a guy that really loved coming to the rink everyday. That may not be a skill by any means but to have that kind of engrained in you, it’s special and it was fun to watch for the last three years.”
Hall says Smyth spoke with the team this morning and dropped some wisdom on the younger players around him.
“He’s brought a lot to our young group. Just him talking to our group this morning, really emphasizing the fact that it’s a privilege to play this game and he just reiterated that it is a lot of fun to play this game and to be a part of the group of guys that we have and day-after-day coming into the rink is truly something you should be grateful for. There’s a lot of things you can take from Smytty, a lot of things he did on the ice so well and in the room as well. He’s just a cheerful guy and a pleasure to be around.”
Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens hasn’t had as much time playing with Smyth as some others on the roster but the Spruce Grove, AB native knows all about the veteran from when he watched him growing up.
“Obviously, he’s a hard-nosed guy,” Scrivens said. “He’s a guy that maybe didn’t have the skill level that some of the other All Stars in the league had and some of the other guys who have played a thousand-plus games. I don’t know how many guys he’s going to toe-drag but he’s scored a heck of a lot more goals than a lot of guys with better skill than him and that’s a compliment to him, that’s not a knock on him.
“I think he embodies what the Edmonton fans like in a hockey player. He’s a never say, ‘quit’, right to the last minute, go to the tough areas, score a goal with your face if you have to type of player and I think that resonates with the people around here. I know for myself personally, when I was growing up with my family, he was a player that we watched as a catalyst. You almost liked watching him get the absolute crap get kicked out of him in front of the net and then watch him get rewarded by it by putting one home.”
Sam Gagner, much like Hall, spoke about Smyth’s passion for the game.
“Having a chance to play a few years with Smytty, you hear so much about him coming into the league and have an amazing amount of respect for him,” the Oilers centre said. “The way he’s kind of treated me as a young guy and taught me how to be a pro and you see the passion he has for the game even now after however many games he’s played. He’s always on the ice first, off last and working to get better and it’s something you can learn from as a teammate. You share in that passion that he has for the game and it’s really infections. He’s had an unbelievable career, he’s got a lot to be proud of an I think one of the biggest ones is the impact he’s had on his teammates and we’re obviously all very proud of him.”
Edmontonoilers.com will carry a press conference live beginning at 2:00 p.m.
Pitlick and Larsen are the extra forwards.
The Oilers announced that they will hold a news conference at Rexall Place today at 2:00 p.m. MDT. You can watch it live in the Oilers Mobile App and at edmontonoilers.com.
Oklahoma City Barons defenceman Brad Hunt has been named a Second Team American Hockey League All Star.
Hunt has enjoyed a career-best season. Through 62 games, the defenceman has scored 49 points (11-38-49) for a franchise record for points by a defenceman. The previous best of 48 was set by Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz last season. Schultz was named the AHL’s Defenceman of the Year for that performance.
Hunt is currently fourth amongst AHL defencemen in scoring.
The blueliner earned his first NHL call up this season, playing three games for Edmonton.
Hunt was also a member of the 2011-12 Chicago Wolves, who were coached by Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish.
|Brad Hunt (photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
In 62 games played this season, Hunt has 11 goals and 38 assists for 49 points. He is also +9. Nine of his goals have come on the power play.
Second-year pro Brad Hunt has 11 goals and 38 assists for 49 points in 62 games with Oklahoma City this season, notching more points in a Barons uniform than any other player in 2013-14. Hunt, who signed his first NHL contract with Edmonton last offseason, has picked up his play in the second half with 31 points and a plus-9 rating in his last 28 games, helping the Barons make a push towards the Calder Cup Playoffs. The 25-year-old native of Ridge Meadows, B.C., made his NHL debut with the Oilers on Jan. 3 and appeared in three contests.
Here's the entire list of AHL All Stars:
2013-14 AHL First All-Star Team
Goaltender - Jake Allen, Chicago Wolves (49gp, 30-16-3, 2.09gaa, .926sv%, 6so)
Defence - T.J. Brennan, Toronto Marlies (70gp, 22+44=66pts., 12 PPG, 4 GWG)
Defence - Adam Clendening, Rockford IceHogs (70gp, 12+44=56pts., +7, 19 PP pts.)
Left Wing - Mike Hoffman, Binghamton Senators (51gp, 30+37=67pts., +11, 12 PPG)
Centre - Travis Morin, Texas Stars (62gp, 31+50=81pts., +13, 10 PPG)
Right Wing - Colton Sceviour, Texas Stars (54gp, 32+31=63pts., +11, 13 PPG, 6 GWG)
2013-14 AHL Second All-Star Team
Goaltender - Petr Mrazek, Grand Rapids Griffins (30gp, 22-7-1, 2.03gaa, .927sv%, 3so)
Defence - Adam Almquist, Grand Rapids Griffins (69gp, 4+48=52pts., +9, 27 PP pts.)
Defence - Brad Hunt, Oklahoma City Barons (62gp, 11+38=49pts., +9, 9 PPG)
Left Wing - Zach Boychuk, Charlotte Checkers (65gp, 35+35=70pts., 17 PPG, 4 GWG)
Centre - Andy Miele, Portland Pirates (65gp, 27+42=69pts., 33 PP pts.)
Right Wing - Spencer Abbott, Toronto Marlies (64gp, 17+52=69pts., +10, 9 PPG)
Read the Press Release
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned defenceman Darnell Nurse, the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, to the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League.
Nurse finished this season with 50 points (13-37-50) in 64 games with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL. He tied for the team lead in scoring during the playoffs with eight points (3-5-8) in nine games.
Nurse joins the Barons in the thick of a tight AHL playoff race. OKC is currently 7th in the Western Conference with five games remaining in the regular season.